Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.-Nelson Mandela
I am in the third week of my doctoral program and the words I am currently using to describe it are “wonderfully awful”. It is exciting and challenging and….no surprise, a lot of work. A. Lot. I have spent the last 3 weeks teaching school all day and studying all afternoon and evening…and all day Saturdays and Sundays. At times I look and feel like a zombie. I am thrilled to have this brief opportunity to turn away from “scholarly writing” to writing in my own voice in this blog post. It’s a sweet breath of relief. So if it is so wonderfully awful, why then, am I subjecting myself (and those around me) to this significant life change? Why, when I have only four years remaining before I retire from teaching, am I putting myself through this? Don’t think that I haven’t asked myself those same questions more than a few times over the last three weeks. After much reflection, it simply comes down to passion…passion for the art of teaching, passion for helping and empowering others to be more and learn more, passion for lifelong learning, and passion for the meaningful integration of technology into teaching and learning.
Everyone one of you has a journey. Each of you have a passion for what you are doing. Educators have to have passion in order to do what they do. It isn’t an easy calling. It isn’t an easy art. It is easy to lose your passion, however. How do you keep your passion alive? How do you feed those creative energies that fuel you each day? I am not suggesting that you need to join a doctoral cohort in order to rekindle your passion. This is my journey, but it doesn’t have to be yours. Reading professional texts, visiting other educators, finding a PLN (professional learning network)…all of these things can renew your passions. One of the texts I highly recommend is Tony Wagner’s The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach The New Survival Skills-And What We Can Do About It. It is thought provoking and will definitely get you fired up.
As for visiting other classrooms, this can be a truly rewarding experience. I recently was visited by some wonderful educators in Atlanta. They spent the day observing in my classroom. Their observations and conversations helped them reflect and plan strategies for moving forward. Sometimes, simply seeing something in person is all you need to spark creative ideas. Educators need to take more time to collaborate and engage in meaningful dialogue with other educators. On the occasions I have visited other classrooms, I have always come away with something that may have seemed very simple, but impacted in big ways. It is worth the effort to get release time from school to engage in personal professional development.
So, where are you at this point in the school year? Are you weary? Are you on autopilot? Do you even know where you are? It’s ok. Our profession is not always equipped to provide us with what we need to be effective, passionate, educators. What steps can you take today to ignite that passion that brought you into this profession? I can’t stress enough how important it is to shake things up at times, to step out of your comfort zone, to stretch, to grow.
You can do it. Let’s change the world.
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!